Loving the skin you are in

A bit of Friday feel good fluff for ya. Maybe just one of those slightly rambling, get stuff off my chest kind of posts. Why not, I’m in one of those give no fucks kind of places, and why have a blog if you can’t use it to share what’s on your mind ūüôā

Body confidence, loving the skin you’re in, whichever catch phrase you like… I really do believe strongly in the idea behind it. Or should I say ideal. Because let’s face it, sometimes it can be bloody hard. So many factors fight against us in our self image! Our modern westernised paradigm ¬†of what an attractive and healthy woman should look like, firmly reinforced by media, advertising, and so many other subtle ways that we scarcely give a second thought to. In the last few decades, for the first time in history, society’s ideal body shape can not be attained through simply diet and genetics alone. Exercise and some version of strength training are needed to achieve that lean toned physique.

Slowly, ideas do seem to be changing. Real women, on the more “extreme” side of what is viewed as “normal” are challenging the wider public to alter their perception of beauty. The Vintage Doll, a pinup loving lady I greatly admire, doesn’t fit even the supposedly more body accepting pinup world definition of pinup. And she gets plenty of haters along with her legions of followers. Why? Because she is tiny. Naturally. And she is embracing her natural body and rockin’ a pinup look and looking fabulous doing it! Not all thin women starve themselves, why can’t we accept ALL natural body types, without slamming the smaller or larger? Of course, there is the fabulous Tess Holliday, who at a size 22 (which seems to be reported more in media than any other more interesting detail), has become a spokeswoman for a movement challenging traditional beauty ideals, the #effyourbeautystandards campaign, as well as a successful fashion model. Yet despite her beauty and success, many hiding behind the anonymity¬†of the internet deem themselves worthy of making judgements on her health, and worthiness as a role model, saying she is encouraging obesity and ill health. This is the sort of thing that really gets my fire going! The only thing Tess, and the Vintage Doll, and so many other beautiful women out there are encouraging is LOVING YOURSELF JUST AS YOU ARE. Fat, thin, in between, you are beautiful.


Emily – The Vintage Doll


Tess Holliday

Today, one of my friends posted a picture on social media, of a younger and slightly slimmer version of herself, in the spirit of inspiring herself to once again become that woman. And that made me think. How often do I do the same? Why do I look at women like Tess and think wow she’s beautiful… then hold myself up to different standards? Because once upon a time, I looked a certain way, means I CAN look that way, therefore I should, right? Hmm, wait. Why am I so hard on myself, when I admire beauty and bodies in others of so many diverse shapes and sizes?

Here is me, at age 25 (6 years ago). Pre-baby, pre many life experiences. Size 8, around 55kg. I had abs. My hip bones and ribs were just visible (I judged myself on how protruding my bones were). My boobs were perky. I thought I was fat, and constantly analysed every last little part of myself… and never saw the big picture.
228373_5102546972_2188_n 224354_5378706972_4752_nDisturbingly, this was one of my more healthy phases. Although I was exercising a lot, I was eating well, although watching my diet carefully. In my early 20s (before digital!), I was even more obsessive about my size. I got down to 48kg, too light to give blood… and I’m 5’6. I counted every calorie that went into my body, and they were few. I had bruises from where my hip bones lay on my mattress at night. I was tired, but loved having a “strong, fit, figure”! I abused prescription diet pills and diuretics throughout my 20s, until I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. And my body image changed forever.

It wasn’t overnight, but I started to appreciate my body for the job it was doing, and the precious vessel it was carrying. I loved my big boobs and growing tummy, as I loved the daughter I was growing. After I gave birth, I looked at myself in the shower and was horrified! I still looked 6 months pregnant! ¬†Fast forward a few months and being overwhelmed with new motherhood overshadowed the issues I had with my newly slightly squishy body. After a year, thank to genetics and breastfeeding, I was back to my pre-baby figure. Different, but still me.

My daughter is now 5. For several years after her birth, I maintained a very healthy and stable weight, with little effort. I felt invincible. The saggy boobs, wrinkles and bags under the eyes that came with motherhood could all be disguised. Then life hit me in the ass. I turned 30. I had a serious back injury which greatly limited physical activity for over a year. My depression, which I’ve struggled with since I hit my teens, reared it’s ugly head.

Suddenly it seemed, I was “putting on weight””. And it didn’t just fall off when I took notice and stopped eating a huge bowl of ice cream and 3 beers and a piece of butter toast after dinner like I was used to! It stuck. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe. I struggled with my self image. I looked at what I used to look like, and beat myself up inside.

It was when I became more involved with the vintage, pinup, and rockabilly scene I started to see myself in a new light. The vintage styles I admired and only wore some of the time, even though I had been collected vintage since I was a teen, looked amazing on more curvier figures! Slowly, I have been re-examining both how I feel about myself, and how I view other women.

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Me now!


For a start, my “ideal” has shifted. I hope that this will become a cultural change! Instead of a thin, bare bones woman, I strive to be A WOMAN. A shifting weight, curves are awesome, but if you don’t have them that’s awesome too, possibly saggy boobs, maybe cellulite, beautiful smile kinda person. And I think that some padding, if you have it, is womanly and beautiful.

So PLEASE, go look at yourself in a mirror and give yourself a wink… and have that ¬†dessert and a glass of wine!

Miss Lorelei Louise xx



Marvelous Marquee Lights: Where to find, and how to make them!

I may have mentioned before, I LOVE lighting! One of my favourite things are vintage style marquee lights and retro illuminated signs. I love the old timey, name in lights feel with the almost industrial edge and anything that lights up is double the fun to me! I became particularly obsessed with these when planning our recent wedding, especially sourcing New Zealand based sellers and DIY options, since at the time, this type of thing was either very hard to find or very expensive. Lately however, there seems to be many new places selling these types of lights and easier to find sources of DIY materials, I’d like to share some here.

Some New Zealand based sellers of Marquee lights and light boxes:

Junk and Disorderly – One of my favourite stores, bases in Northcote – a HUGE haven of vintage treasures, hardware and furniture galore – mixed with a big range funky new items for your home! They have lightboxes (illuminated signs with interchangeable covers) with a variety of different covers and signs and some great large sized metal marquee letters. If you get a chance, try the cinnamon brioche from the retro coffee caravan parked right inside – divine!


Light Viking¬†– A Tauranga based business that makes wicked custom marquee lights as well as other vintage lighting and it’s a great place to shop for loads of other retro and industrial style goodies!

bar light viking

Typo¬†–¬†An Australian company, Typo is a shop found either in malls, attached to Cotton On, or online. They are a great source of reasonably priced, on trend homeware and decor and get new things in often – well worth checking out! I bought several of these A4 sized lightboxes (with interchangeable letters to spell whatever you like!) to display at our wedding, and now they are also fun and easy to mix it up home decor. Recently, I spotted they are also stocking metal marquee lights in all the letters of the alphabet!


Light boxes at Typo


DIY options: Can’t afford the price tag? No worries!

Who doesn’t love Pinterest!? Unfortunately, sometimes materials for DIY projects that are easily purchased from a local hardware or craft store overseas can be a little harder to find in our corner of the world!

One easy method is to use cardboard or paper mache letters and fairy lights. I started this for our wedding but ran out of time! There are many cool tutorials online, and both cutting out the “front” part of the letter or hiding the fairy lights inside the hollow shell and poking them out the front look great – here is the excellent tutorial for making the the sign below!

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This is a project I did myself for our wedding, I wanted a Vegas style sign to hang above the arch where our ceremony would take place. It was a fairly straightforward and inexpensive project.chapel of love signMethod: I traced a template onto cardboard – printed out on mulitple A4 sheets using an online tool like this one here. I then traced this onto a piece of plywood and used a jigsaw to cut out the banner shape. After sanding and painting, I glued ready made painted paper mache (from Warehouse Stationery, or Spotlight) letters on to the banner shape and drilled holes where each light would poke through. Globe shaped Christmas lights can be bought cheaply from Mitre 10, simply remove the glass globe carefully from each light, poke through the back of the plywood shape and secure with a dab of glue, then replace the glass globe. Each string of lights had 10 bulbs, so I bought 3 – one coloured and two clear sets. I used 2 strings, and so had extra bulbs to choose the selection of coloured and clear bulbs for the final piece!


Total cost – Less than $80 including all paint and materials!

Lastly, I am very excited that Spotlight is starting to stock these awesome DIY marquee light kits! Retailing for $25 a letter, including the battery operated lights and a template to make a background for your letter, all included. I can’t wait to try these out!


Whether you would buy one ready to go, or craft your own, there is plenty of inspiration to get you started getting a retro light art work for your own home! As always, I would LOVE to hear feedback and see pictures of your own projects!

Lorelei Louise xx


A trip back to the golden days of Hollywood…

I’ve always wanted to play the silver screen starlet and do a real old Hollywood film noir style photoshoot. The perfect opportunity came when Rosemary Morris, one half of the talented husband and wife team that is Photoshoot.co.nz, suggested she’d like to team up for a shoot… and her ideas were exactly that!

Rosemary, and her husband Peter are based in West Auckland and are an immensely talented couple. They shoot a range of different styles, from fitness to glamour, to family, maternity and corporate. I first met them when I booked a glamour shoot around 4 years ago, a treat after having my daughter and wanting to feel glamorous again! Since then, they’ve shot a wonderful family shoot for us as well as capturing the incredible images of our wedding in January.

For this shoot, we used black and white shots studio glamour from the 40s and 50s as inspiration. I just can’t get over how beautiful these photographs are!

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One of my very best friends, and an amazingly talented makeup artist, Katy Pulham of Bella Rouge Makeup, did a stellar job transforming me into a glamorous Hollywood starlet… and ¬†also making sure my makeup would look appropriate under the very harsh lighting that we would be using to get the moody shadows in this shoot!

So, here are the shots!

LL02 (1024x794) LL04 (1024x733)The fantastic dress in these shots is a vintage Colin Cole, who was a renowned New Zealand designer in the 60s, right through to the 80s. He is well known for making many of Kiri Te Kanawa’s custom couture dresses. I have 2 of his gowns, and they are the most breathtaking and luxurious items I own! I was so enamoured with the first one I found, when this beauty turned up, I couldn’t believe my luck.

LL07 (1024x652) LL03 (813x1024)The lingerie in these shots I purchased from Pinup Girl Clothing, the Gossard Retrolution plunge bra and panty girdle. It’s a fantastic special occasion set! I wore this at my wedding, and it works well under many of my evening dresses, perfect for light smoothing and nipping in of the waist and amazing bust enhancing powers.

LL06 (569x1024) LL01 (763x1024) LL05 (721x1024) LL08 (706x1024)In these last shots, I am wearing a favourite little black dress from Wheels and Dollbaby, a vintage fur cape that was my grandmother’s and Pinup Couture heels. The bridal veil was my wedding veil, a custom creation by Linda McCarthy.

I hope you enjoyed these images!

Miss Lorelei Louise xx

Frugal Friday! Budget buys $15 and under

Always a bargain hunter, being in between jobs at the moment makes me even more so! Now, I loathe shopping malls, but occasionally I do find myself in one out of necessity! Here is a round up of some goodies I have found recently…

1. Sink organiser from Kmart $620150306_115506

I admit, I’ve been a little obsessed over finding one of these! The only one I could find in NZ was $25… a bit much for a caddy to put your dish essentials in, in my opinion! But Kmart, once again is all kinds of awesome.

Now, I just need to find a refillable bottle to put dish soap in!

2. Wire storage basket from Kmart $12


A great sized and brightly orange coloured basket – I could think of places this would be handy in every room in my house!








3. Cute retro canisters from Living and Giving – $12 and $15 (30% off too!)

Living and Giving have a great range of retro styled canisters and tins, from the decorative like these guys, to ones that hold garlic, onions and even a handy bread bin who’s lid is a bread board! Our completed kitchen will have plenty of open shelving to display pretty things, so I love finding interesting containers – that are useful storage too!

4. Mini retro radio from Living and Giving $15

I couldn’t resist this cute little radio! It takes a couple of AA batteries, and has a tiny little tuner and dials, I just love it!


5. Basic cropped tops from Tempt $12.99 each

Great basics to pair with your high-waisted jeans and trousers and swing skirts! I love the mustard coloured sweater, will work well with so many separates in my wardrobe. And who can resist that hot pink?


That’s all from me, Happy Friday and hope you enjoyed this week’s round up!

Lorelei Louise xx